Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato-less Tomato Sauce

At some point last year, probably in an attempt to find something to do with all the beets we had from our CSA, my amazing roommate LDK found a recipe for a soup that we dubbed "red hooker lipstick soup". It tasted a lot like tomato soup, despite the fact that it was tomato-less. Shortly thereafter a recipe for marina sauce was found, which led to adventures with chicken parmesan, again, with no tomatoes. After these discoveries, my head went wild with possibilities. If I could use these same principles, I could recreate all my favorite tomato type dishes. Without the tomato. And I could make them for my little brother who is also tomato free. So many possibilities! Since then I have successfully made chili (okay, mom helped me with the chili...I have bad experiences with cooking dried's a long story) and my little brother has successfully made, canned and dried "tomato" sauce. This particular day it was my turn to make "tomato" sauce. 

I don't do things in small quantities. I purposely made a whole bunch so I can freeze some and have it when I need "tomato" and don't have time or energy to make any. So I started with about 60 oz (2 cans) of pureed pumpkin, 30 oz (2 cans) of whole cooked beets, 2 cups of chicken stock, 3/4 cup of lemon juice, 4 TBSP of balsamic vinegar and 4 tsp of salt. I was a little heavy on the salt. Next time I think I might cut back on the salt a bit, but in the end it was all okay. 
I pureed all of that together with my immersion blender. It was a delightful purply mess. At that point it was basically the equivalent of tomato-less tomato paste. Since I don't use tomato-less tomato paste very often I decided to go ahead and process it all the way to tomato-less tomato sauce, a product I use much more frequently. To this purple puree I added about 2 cups of lightly sauteed onion along with about 3 cloves of lightly sauteed garlic, 1 1/2 a tsp of oregano, 2 bay leaves, 1 tsp of pepper, 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes, and 1 tsp of sugar. I then added about 4 cups of water and mixed it all together. The amount of water isn't important. It just had to be enough to make it liquid enough to let it cook so everything could cook together. Otherwise adding things like the oregano, bay leaves and red pepper flakes would be useless. I let it simmer on the stove top all afternoon, stirring frequently. As it cooked it went from purple to red, until by the end, when it was the right consistency for tomato sauce (all the extra water had boiled out), it looked just like tomato sauce. 
Here's a picture of my tomato-less tomato sauce all ready for use in yummy recipes.

In summary: puree together: 60 oz of pumpkin puree 30 oz of canned (or fresh cooked) beets 3/4 cup of lemon juice 4 TBSP of balsamic vinegar 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock 4tsp of salt

Sautee: 2 cups chopped onion 3 cloves minced garlic

Add together: the puree and sauteed vegetables 1 1/2 tsp oregano 1tsp peper 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes 2 bay leaves 1 tsp sugar about 4 cups of water

Bring to a simmer and let simmer for many hours, stirring on occasion to prevent sticking. When it has reached the right consistency for tomato sauce, it is done. Enjoy your tomato-less tomato sauce! (and clean up everywhere it splattered while cooking...)

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